Officials say one man has died after a trench collapsed in Alexander County.
Sheriff's deputies told local reporters the trench collapsed around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday on private property in Hiddenite.
Deputies said the man had been doing mining work when the 25-foot hole collapsed.
The victim was 56-year-old Terry Lee Ledford of Spruce Pine. His body was found around 8:30 p.m.
Officials say they're not sure what prompted the collapse.
Ledford was known for discovering the “Carolina Emperor,” a record emerald, in 2009, reports WBTV, a media partner of the Observer.